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Developer Plans to Build 33 More Apartments At Hollister Village Complex in Goleta

City Planning Commission OKs the proposal for the vacant corner across from homes on 7000 block of Hollister Avenue

Hollister Village developers plan to build 33 more apartments in the complex on the 7000 block of Hollister Avenue in Goleta. Click to view larger
Hollister Village developers plan to build 33 more apartments in the complex on the 7000 block of Hollister Avenue in Goleta.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

In a move that has upset some nearby residents, Costa Mesa-based developer Westar Associates wants to build 33 more apartments in Goleta next to the 266 Hollister Village units it has already constructed.

Westar Associates took its proposal to the Goleta Planning Commission on Monday night, where it was approved 3-2, with members Ed Fuller and Robert Miller in opposition.

Westar already has approval to build a project on that site, which is on the eastern end of the development, with 12,687 square feet of commercial space and five, three-story live-work units.

The City Council will get the final say on the proposed 33-unit project because it requires a General Plan amendment.

There have been multiple design proposals for the project and the one presented at Monday’s meeting had one elevator tower and one rooftop deck.

A majority of the commission, Jennifer Smith, Eric Onnen and Katie Maynard voted in favor of that proposal, but without the elevator shaft and rooftop deck.

The elevators were intended to provide accessibility to the second floor for people who use wheelchairs, but since the rest of the 266-unit project lacked elevators, the Planning Commission felt it was unnecessary and that it would block mountain views, a value articulated in the city of Goleta's general plan.

The proposed site for 33 more apartments is on the eastern side of the Hollister Village complex. Click to view larger
The proposed site for 33 more apartments is on the eastern side of the Hollister Village complex.  (City of Goleta photo)

Only the bottom floors throughout the project provide wheelchair accessibility.

Westar Associates was forced to change the original project because of a lawsuit filed by a Glen Annie Road resident.

The developer and the homeowner reached a settlement and Westar agreed to build residential apartments instead of the planned commercial space. 

Even with the design changes, there were concerns about the project size and neighborhood impacts. 

“No matter what we build here, we are going to worsen the transportation impacts that are wreaking havoc in the community,” Maynard said. 

“I was really looking for Option C and Option C would have been a scaled back project from what’s proposed,” Miller said Monday.

“What I hear most from the community is what’s built is bulky, too big, too boxy, and ‘oh my God, they’re not going to build more of them?’”

The Goleta Planning Commission voted 3-2 Monday to approve plans for 33 more apartments on a vacant parcel in the Hollister Village complex. Click to view larger
The Goleta Planning Commission voted 3-2 Monday to approve plans for 33 more apartments on a vacant parcel in the Hollister Village complex.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Fuller, who voted against the proposal, said, “maybe having such a huge project on that site may have not been a good idea.”

Connor Best, Westar Associates' vice president of Acquisitions & Entitlements, said Goleta needs more housing to help businesses recruit and retain workers.

He told the Planning Commission that Hollister Village is 100-percent leased so a demand still exists.

“The project will support the ability of Goleta businesses to attract employees to live where they work,” said Best, who added that it didn’t make sense for Goleta to ask that the project get smaller when there’s such a demand for workforce housing.

During public comment, Goleta resident Richard Foster questioned whether such developments provided workforce housing. He said rents for two-bedroom apartments are in the area of $2,800.

“This is not workforce housing unless you are working a $150,000 a year job,” Foster said.

Connor Best, Westar Associates’ vice president of Acquisitions & Entitlements, said Goleta needs more housing to help businesses recruit and retain workers. Click to view larger
Connor Best, Westar Associates’ vice president of Acquisitions & Entitlements, said Goleta needs more housing to help businesses recruit and retain workers. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Development in western Goleta, including the Hollister Village project's residential units and commercial space, has led to increased traffic at the intersection of Storke Road and Hollister Avenue, which is regularly clogged during peak morning and evening hours. 

People who live on S. Glen Annie also say that the Hollister Village development has hurt the way they live and they worry about more residential units being built rather than the commercial space that was already approved by the city.

“The quality of life has changed dramatically in the neighborhood,” said nearby resident Melanie Avery. “We are kind of overwhelmed by Hollister Village.”

She said there’s loud partying and police cars regularly in the area. “I don’t feel safe there,” she said.

Goleta resident and activist Barbara Massey said she thought the proposed development is too big.

“The project should be scaled back to fit the site,” she said. “The site is too small for 33 apartments.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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